Nigeria LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex Laws unequivocally condemns the passing of the Same sex Marriage Prohibition bill by the Nigerian House of Representatives.
The draconian bill was passed in a voice vote on Thursday 30 May, 2013 by members of the House of Representatives. The bill stipulates a 14 years jail term for same-sex marriage and 10 years imprisonment for public show of same-sex affection. The approved bill also stipulates a 10 year imprisonment for anyone who abets a gay person, witnesses a same sex marriage or advocates for LGBT rights.
Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora against anti same sex laws believes that the Same Sex marriage Prohibition bill is a blatant violation of human rights of Nigerian gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. It is a shame that such draconian bill was passed unanimously in both Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives.
Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws affirms that LGBT rights are Human Rights. As stated in our position paper on the Same Sex marriage Prohibition bill, the homophobic bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and various regional and international human rights laws that Nigeria has ratified. Thus this Bill contradicts parts of the Nigerian Constitution.
The same sex marriage prohibition bill if signed into law would encourage the political and social harassment of people for their actual or imputed sexual orientation. It would also stifle the rights to Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association through the proposed ban on organizations that support Lesbians and gay rights.
This draconian bill if signed into law would further affect Nigeria’s Human rights records. Individuals and state institutions including the police force are already using the unsigned bill as a license to intimidate and harass citizens based on their actual or suspected sexual orientation. The passing of this bill gives official validation to the harassment of sexual minorities.
Sodomy law is a relic from British colonization. The British parliament and many of its former colonies have since repealed the law. Why is Nigeria clinging to this antiquated Sodomy law? Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora holds that the argument that any sexual act or relationship that deviates from the standard heterosexual norm is against African culture is using “culture” to sanction the erasure of dialogue about alternative sexualities and to condone homophobia, therefore constituting a form of cultural violence. A society that stifles sexual and gender identities discourages the recognition of human dignity.
If consenting adults decides to enter into a committed lifetime relationship, the state should not criminalize their relationship. It makes no difference whether the couple is gay or straight, what matters is that they are adults in a consensual relationship. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes is not the business of the law.
Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora urge President Goodluck Jonathan not to sign this homophobic bill into law. Dear president Goodluck Jonathan, do not assent a bill that infringes on the human rights of Nigerian Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and Transsexuals. The bill is against the spirit of the Nigerian constitution which you swore to uphold. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and Transsexuals are citizens, not criminals. Do not criminalize our sexual orientation. Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws affirms that LGBT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS and every Nigerian deserves the same right every other Nigerian enjoys irrespective of class, sex, gender or sexual orientation.
We call on all progressive Nigerians to oppose the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill. This bill erodes our hard fought for constitutional human rights including Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association.